St. Thomas’ favourite son Aaron Walpole started rehearsals last week for “Rock of Ages”. I had a chance to chat with Aaron about this show, which will begin previews April 20. “There will be mullets and big crimped hair,’ Aaron says with a laugh. It’s a show built around 1980s music.
Aaron has the role of Lonny – whom he describes as a “quick witted sound guy in the Bourbon Room, which is a bar on Sunset Strip.” About three weeks ago, he travelled to New York to see the Broadway production of Rock of Ages, starring Constantine of American Idol fame. “It’s the most fun you can have in a theatre,” Aaron says. He enjoyed meeting Mitchell Jarvis who plays Lonny in the New York production and other cast members. The music of Rock of Ages includes Journey, Bon Jovi, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister and more.
Aaron graduated from Sheridan College’s Music Theatre Program in 2001. “It’s a good school. It was hard to get in, and harder to stay in, back then, “ Aaron explains. In 2005, he was the very popular 2nd runner up on Canadian Idol on CTV. He had the lead role in John Grey’s Rock and Roll at London’s Grand Theatre in 2006.
Aaron says he’s been fortunate with his career – he’s worked steadily in musical theatre, appearing at the Stratford Festival and in theatres from Alberta to New Brunswick. “I’m a type and it’s really helped me out. There aren’t that many large guys who can act, sing and dance,” he adds. In Rock of Ages, he describes his character as a Jack Black type.
“We’ll be praying to the mullet gods,” Aaron says. He’s not sure yet if he needs to keep growing out his hair, or if he’ll be provided with a wig or maybe extensions (well, those would be just in the back). My advice: Go for the wig, Aaron. Life might be difficult off stage if you have to live with a mullet full time.
Rock of Ages will have an open-ended run at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, in Toronto.